007 Legends Review
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|Developer: Eurocom||Publisher: Activision|
|Release Date: October 16, 2012||Available On: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360|
Fifty years. It’s hard to believe that the world’s greatest spy has been around that long on the silver screen. Beginning with Sean Connery’s debut in the role in 1962’s Dr. No, James Bond has become an indelible experience for every man coming of age. It is a series that transcends generation, race and nationality. It tells the history of humanity for the past fifty years: a Cold War that divided the planet, the glory of the space age and rapid technological development, post-Soviet world politics and life in an era where terrorism is a paramount concern.
A number of celebrations commemorating the 50th anniversary are taking place this year: a new film (Skyfall), a Blu-ray collection of all of the past Bond movies and a video game honoring the rich history of the franchise. Activision has been hyping 007 Legends as the definitive Bond game for much of the past year. 007 Legends promised to sweep players through some of the most memorable moments in the Bond franchise. Interestingly enough 007 Legends includes films spanning nearly every generation and at least one film from each of the six Bond actors. It has all of the ingredients for a successful video game.
007 Legends starts off with Daniel Craig as Bond fighting on a train in Istanbul in one of the scenes from Skyfall. A sniper shoots him and he plunges into a river below. As he begins to lose consciousness he has a series of flashbacks from past missions: Goldfinger at Fort Knox, the Alpine lair of Blofeld, Sanchez’s cocaine distribution facility, the ice palace of Gustav Graves, and the launch pad of Hugo Drax. This is the developer, Eurocom’s, attempt at weaving together an otherwise incoherent series of storylines.
Bond purists will be upset with some of the liberties that Eurocom took with the storyline. For instance, Sanchez acts like he never even met Bond, even though a big portion of License to Kill involved Bond infiltrating Sanchez’s organization. People completely unfamiliar with the Bond universe will be confused about what is taking place at any point in the game. Really it is a worst of both worlds scenario. I suppose they had to somehow make sense of everything while incorporating Daniel Craig as Bond in each of the movies (even though he played in none of them except Skyfall) and also making each mission relevant for modern audiences. Personally, I would have much preferred to play as each Bond actor for the appropriate film, but like the GoldenEye remake (which starred Pierce Brosnan), the game forces Daniel Craig upon us.
Eurocom did their best to stay true to the source material as far as likenesses and voice-acting went. Judy Dench (as M), Michael Lonsdale (Hugo Drax), Carey Lowell (Pam Bouvier), Toby Stephens (Gustav Graves) and Richard Kiel (Jaws) all contributed both their likeness and voice to the project. Daniel Craig (James Bond), Robert Davi (Franz Sanchez) Gert Frobe (Goldfinger), Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore), Harold Sakata (Oddjob) and Rick Yune (Zao) are represented in the game with their likeness. The only major character missing is Jinx. Halle Berry was undoubtedly too expensive. This adds a certain level of credibility to the project that it would not have otherwise had.
That being said, some of the voice actors did a better job than others. Villains like Drax and Graves sound equally sinister as they did in the films. The award for worst performance unfortunately goes to the Daniel Craig sound-alike who shows a total lack of emotion in his voice acting role. This is especially apparent with his completely neutral, almost disinterested tone when he is strapped down and about to get split in two by Goldfinger’s laser. It’s a pitiful performance.
Graphically, 007 Legends is a mess. Eurocom is using a two year old engine with this game. Normally that is not a bad thing, but considering it was built for the GoldenEye remake on the Wii it becomes a problem. There are some glaring issues here including textures, pixilation and poor shadowing techniques. It honestly looks like a late generation Xbox game with a sheen of HD paint.
As far as gameplay goes, 007 Legends has three main modes: Single Player, Challenges and Multiplayer. Single player allows you to choose between playing “modern” Bond games with health regeneration or “classic” Bond with armor and health packs. There are also three different difficulty settings to give gamers the option of having a cakewalk or a modest challenge.
Each level is essentially a shooting gallery. You start the game off “infiltrating” Goldfinger’s factory with a gun fight and explosions everywhere — hardly the work of a master spy. Stealth play is not required, nor is it particularly encouraged. There are a few critical areas through the game where you cannot be detected. You will need to use stealth skills such as distracting enemies, subduing guards when you’re near them and using tranquilizer darts. Other than that, stealth comes as a decided afterthought.
The missions, which are broken up by each of the movies, end with a boss fight which are decidedly lame. You would expect an epic clash with Oddjob or Jaws, but you instead get a fighting sequence that is closer to a basic form of boxing. You use the two analog sticks to punch either at the hip by pressing down or at their face by pressing up. The fist you use depends on which analog stick is being moved. The idea is to strike them where they are not currently blocking and thus vulnerable. It ends up being the same fight sequence every time.
007 Legends is light on gadgets, which I view as a good thing, but may disappoint some fans. You have a phone capable of taking pictures (which is hardly unique these days), an electro-magnetic filter so you can hack into things and a biometric filter for scanning fingerprints. Your watch acts as a radar device and also has a laser to take out pesky cameras that will set off alarms. The game has a minimal upgrade system that allows you to purchase things like scopes and attachments for your weapons; “training” for Bond such as more health and rapid reload time; and upgrades to your darts.
The latter half of 007 Legends is actually quite memorable. The ice palace and plane scene from Die Another Day make me wish that they had made a game for the film back in 2002. Moonraker also gets a pretty awesome level with the launch pad and space station making great sets. I especially enjoyed the zero gravity in the Moonraker level where you float around the space station firing the laser rifle at Drax’s minions. The over-the-top nature of Moonraker will have a lot of people roll their eyes, but Roger Moore fans will be quite pleased. It’s a fun level to play and almost worth plodding through the first half of the game just to get to it.
007 Legends is not nearly as bad as some media outlets will have you believe. It does not desecrate the franchise, but it also does nothing new. A million other shooters have already done this and many of them have done it better. The “Challenges” mode will add a couple hours of gameplay at most and the multi-player will be overshadowed by Call of Duty: Black Ops II. As far as honoring the now fifty year-old franchise, it’s hard not to feel that Eurocom squandered a perfect opportunity with 007 Legends, but it does enough right — particularly in the two later missions — to warrant at least a rental from Bond enthusiasts. Just do not expect the second coming of GoldenEye.
|Replay Value/Game Length:||7|
|Final:||6.8 out of 10|
|Written by Kyle Bell||Write a User Review|